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UK watchdog bans three financial advisers after sex crime convictions

Kirstin Ridley
·2-min read

By Kirstin Ridley

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's markets watchdog on Thursday banned three former financial advisers from the industry after their convictions for sex crimes, the first time the regulator has used its powers to crack down on such misconduct.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said Russell Jameson, Frank Cochran and Mark Horsey had failed to meet "fit and proper" standards because they had committed serious offences while working in the financial services industry.

Jameson was convicted in 2018 of making and stockpiling thousands of violent and indecent images of children and was sentenced to five years in jail.

Cochran, who advised on pensions, mortgages and investments, was convicted in 2018 of sexual assault and controlling and coercive behaviour and sentenced to seven years.

Horsey, a director and shareholder of an authorised financial advice firm, was convicted of voyeurism in 2018, after he secretly watched and filmed his tenant in a shower without their consent. He received a suspended, nine-month sentence.

A lawyer for Jameson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Horsey and Cochran did not make representations through lawyers, the FCA said, and Reuters was unable to reach them for comment.

The FCA has pledged not to turn a blind eye to non-financial misconduct and in 2014 banned a former Blackrock investment manager after he was caught dodging fares worth 43,000 pounds ($56,000) on his daily commute into London.

Megan Butler, FCA executive director of supervision, told a government committee in 2018 that the regulator also viewed sexual harassment as misconduct that can drive poor culture.

Kingsley Napley partner Jill Lorimer said the bans showed the FCA's "ruthless attention" on integrity, although David Rundle, a lawyer at WilmerHale, said it remained to be seen how the FCA expected firms to assess the fitness and propriety of staff after allegations, rather than a conviction.

"That is all the more challenging where firms may be ill-equipped to investigate such behaviour," he said.

(Reporting by Kirstin Ridley. Editing by Jane Merriman)